Tag Archives: my book

Leg of Lamb: A Family Favorite Recipe

Leg of Lamb Sprinkled in Salt

One of our family favorites from Picture Perfect Parties is the stuffed leg of lamb, generously filled with Meyer lemons, green olives, rosemary and garlic. I liberally used my favorite salt, Magic Unicorn (it is indeed magically delicious) on the outside of the lamb. It is always spectacular.

Since Easter and Passover are likely small gatherings this year, use this recipe as a treat to yourself.

I used about 1 tablespoon (plus a little more:-) and massaged the salt into the lamb before stuffing and tying it up. Let me know if you give it a try. I hope you love it as much as we do.

Roast Stuffed Leg of Lamb with Lemon and Herbs
Serves 6-8

For the lamb, you will need:
– 1- 4 Pound boneless leg of lamb +kitchen string. Note: Some stores sell this already rolled and secured in a netting. You need to remove this if so.

To prepare the lamb before stuffing:
Liberally sprinkle then rub the outside of the lamb with Magic Unicorn salt, about 1 tablespoon, plus a little extra. Set aside and prepare the stuffing.

Lemon and Herb Stuffing

You will need:
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 3 tablespoons butter
– 4 cloves chopped garlic
– 1 cup panko bread crumbs
– ½ cup green olives chopped
– ½ cup raisins *optional
– 2 small lemons cut into small wedges, toss the lemon wedges in ½ teaspoon sea salt *note Meyer lemons , should be used if available
– 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
– 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
– ½ cup chicken stock
– 1 teaspoon pepper to finish stuffed lamb

To prepare stuffing:

Heat oil and butter add garlic sauté until lightly browned medium heat 3 to 4 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and sauté for 5 minutes until combined. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F

Place the leg of lamb on a cutting board lined with butcher or parchment paper lie the lamb flat top side down.

Place the stuffing into the middle of the roast mounding it into the middle.

Wrap the sides of the lamb around the stuffing tuck in the ends and tie the lamb with kitchen string, sealing the stuffing.

Place the stuffed lamb on a rack in a roasting pan fattest side up.  Roast at 425 for 15 min. Reduce heat to 325 and roast 30 to 45 minutes or until desired degree of doneness., for medium rare it should read 130 degrees to 135 degree F. Once it’s reached this temperature, remove it from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes.

Carve into slices and serve.

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Traveling to Italy, my first week back

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Ciao Guys! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have been back in Italy for a little over a week. Traveling to get here was quite effortless. After 2 Covid tests, one from Walgreens and one from Delta at the airport, I was on my way. Because I am an Italian resident, we own a home and live here, most of the year entry was easy. I have no idea when Italy will open to the world, but I am optimistic that come fall, it will be open, and Italy will welcome travelers, I would assume with a vaccine passport, but we shall see.

As I write this, my region of Tuscany is in orange. Italy has a system of well-outlined restrictions based on color-coded zones. Red, orange, yellow and white. Red being a strict lockdown, orange having restrictions on bars and restaurants and travel in the region and between regions, and a curfew of 10:00 pm. Yellow is less restricted and allows travel between regions, and the opening of bars and restaurants for lunch. For the official codes, read about it here in my favorite magazine The Florentine.

For me, these restrictions don’t affect me much since I live in the countryside and travel very little.

I am in the middle of editing the finished manuscript of my cookbook, La Fortezza Cookbook. Once England can travel, our British team, photographer David Loftus, and our stylist Rosie Scott, can enter the country, and we can start working on the winter chapter. I am hoping that this will be mid-March, bu obviously, I will keep you posted.

In the meantime, we are preparing the garden for the spring, and I have some cool additions to La Fortezza coming soon. The pool will commence and my friend and uber stylist Barbara will be helping me style it up. There will be the construction of the pool pergola, and lots of planting going on.

Until next time, be sure to check the La Fortezza Workshop page, and if you want to join us here, I would not wait. Once Italy opens up, it is going to be nuts!  In the meantime, I will keep posting on Instagram. We have some fun Instagram Lives coming up, so don’t forget to check in and see what’s happening!

xx

 

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Easy Brunch Cocktail

This is the best cocktail for Christmas brunch, but it's also perfect for any party this season. It's great for a crowd too!

Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web-manager and friend, and I am thrilled to be guest posting today to bring you a festive holiday cocktail: pear prosecco punch.

In my house, I always make a huge Christmas brunch to enjoy after opening presents. The feast starts with sausage balls & pigs-in-a-blanket (oldies but goodies) and coffee for breakfast while we all tear through gifts. Late morning, I pop everything in the oven, and we sit down to a huge brunch complete with berry French toast, quiche, fruit, and of course, a festive cocktail. There are only three of us every year, but we always manage to have a full-fledged feast. This is the best cocktail for Christmas brunch.

One trick: freeze a bag of cranberries and keep them on hand in your freezer. Warm prosecco isn’t tasty. Frozen cranberries can be used in place of ice to keep your cocktails cold. They won’t water-down your beverage, and they’ll look festive, too!

Pear Prosecco Holiday Cocktail

Let me know if you give this a try! I’d love to hear what you think. Happy holidays!

xo, Nicole

Pear Prosecco Punch
serves 1

You will need:

– 2 oz Pear concentrate (I use Looza)
– 4 oz Prosecco
– Rosemary sprigs & frozen cranberries for garnish

To prepare:

Pour pear concentrate into a champagne or wine glass. Top with prosecco. Add a rosemary sprig and frozen cranberries for garnish.

photos by Nicole Letts

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Sneaky Good Side:: Butternut Squash with Chermoula

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You have seen my recipe for chermoula before. I’ve added it to soup and to steak, but one of my favorite uses is to mix it up with butternut squash for a delicious fall side dish. In fact, this would be such a fun addition to a Thanksgiving meal. Let me know if you give it a try.

 Butternut Squash with Chermoula

For the chermoula, you will need:

– 1 cup fresh Italian parsley
– 1 cup fresh cilantro
– 2-inch piece of ginger
– 3 cloves of garlic
– Juice of 1 lemon
– 1 cup of oil
– Salt and pepper
– 2 teaspoons coriander seeds

To prepare:

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add all ingredients and pulse until it forms a loose smooth sauce, about 1 minute.

For the butternut squash, you will need:
– 4 cups of cubed squash (cubes should be about 2 inches square)
– 4 tablespoons of prepared chermoula
– 3 tablespoons of olive oil
– 1 teaspoon of salt

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the Charmoula, oil and salt in a large bowl. Add the cubed squash and toss with a spoon. Place the marinated squash into a 12″x 8″ baking dish.

Place into the oven for 1 hour until golden brown.

 

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Sunday Supper:: Mushroom Risotto

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I love having a hearty meal with family on Sunday evenings. It is so comforting and sets the tone for the week ahead. I often search my archives for great Sunday supper ideas, and I recently stumbled on my mushroom risotto from my first book, Picture Perfect Parties.

Give it a try this weekend and let me know what you think.

Mushroom Risotto
Serves 6 as an entree, 10 as a side dish
You will need:

– 4 cups cleaned and sliced mushrooms
– 1 small sweet onion chopped in a fine dice
– 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
– 3 tablespoons olive oil + 1 tablespoon for the mushrooms
– 2 cups Arborio Rice (Italian rice available at specialty stores)
– 3-4 cups warm chicken or vegetable stock
– 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
– 1 tablespoon butter to finish
– 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley for garnish
– 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper

To prepare:

Place stock in a medium saucepan on low heat.

In a small frying pan place 1 tablespoon oil and the mushrooms on medium heat and saute until mushrooms become light brown and without liquid. Set aside until ready to add to the risotto.

In a large skillet on medium heat, place butter, oil, and onion in the pan and saute for 3 minutes until transparent, then add the rice to the oil and onion, stir until the rice is completely coated, and continue to saute and stir for 5 minutes. Slowly, with a ladle, add the warm stock to the rice, stirring constantly until all the stock is incorporated and the rice is creamy (about 30-40 minutes). Add the mushrooms and 1 tablespoon butter as well as the parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Stir until incorporated.

Place in a serving bowl, garnish with parsley, serve immediately.

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